UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Blueberry Varieties

Garden Help > Fruits & Nuts > Blueberries

Blueberry varieties testing conducted in Santa Clara County to evaluate the following characteristics of each of the varieties: flavor, productivity, harvest season, landscape value including plant form, foliage characteristics, fall foliage color, and winter ornamental value.


  • Northern highbush -- Vaccinium corymbosum
  • Consistently good producer in San Jose starting in late May
  • Medium sized, good quality fruit with nice acid sugar balance
  • Fruit has a slightly frosted appearance
  • Upright, open growing bush to 4-6 feet, brilliant scarlet fall color
  • Leading commercial variety in North America


  • Northern highbush -- Vaccinium corymbosum
  • Medium sized, good quality fruit
  • Compact bush reaching 3-4 feet at maturity
  • Dense globe form and scarlet red fall foliage make it a good landscape choice


  • Northern highbush -- Vaccinium corymbosum
  • Early harvest, even though a later spring bloomer
  • Medium sized mildly sweet flavor
  • Upright grower, but branches will droop to ground when laden with fruit
  • Foliage turns yellow-orange in fall


  • Northern highbush -- Vaccinium corymbosum
  • Said to require 800 chilling hours for proper dormancy, but has been a very high yielder every year even though chilling hours have fallen to less than 300.
  • Early harvest
  • Medium sized sweet fruit lacking
  • Upright bush, stout canes with bright red wood
  • Large glossy green leaves

Georgia Gem

  • Southern Highbush - Suitable for California, both coastal and inland
  • Low winter chill requirement of 200-300 hours
  • Medium-large sized sweet fruit
  • Upright multi-branched bush to 5-6 feet
  • Cold hardy, but tolerant of high temperatures

Gulf Coast

  • Southern highbush with very low chilling requirement
  • Concentrated ripening about a week - 10 days after Sharpblue
  • Medium to large fruit
  • Tangy good flavor
  • Compact bushy growth habit which make nice landscape plants because highly branched


  • Southern Highbush with winter chill requirements of 150 - 300 hours
  • Very vigorous, upright and highly branched reaching 4-6 feet at maturity
  • Good potential for the landscape because of it’s compact, highly branched nature
  • Berries are medium-large sized, firm with excellent blueberry flavor
  • Flowers are hot pink fading to white


  • Southern highbush with low winter chill requirements
  • Small–medium size berries which are firm with a very good tart flavor
  • Bears very heavy crop earlier than all the rest with a second small harvest in the fall
  • Care should be taken to not let Misty overbear
  • Has outstanding landscape characteristics with it’s striking hot pink buds and bushy, more upright growth than Sunshine Blue
  • Very attractive dark green foliage


  • Southern highbush, which is suitable for California, both coastal and inland
  • Low winter chill requirement of 200-300 hours
  • Very large sized fruit with a mild sweet – bland flavor
  • Bush is vigorous and upright to 6 feet
  • Foliage is attractive gray-green in summer accented with red stems and branches


  • Southern highbush requiring 500 chill hours
  • Early season, medium-sized fruit
  • Excellent, distinctive flavor fruit with a crisp texture
  • Tasty even when picked slightly underripe
  • Favorite flavor of research team
  • Vigorous and upright narrow bush to 5-6 feet tall
  • Easy to grow variety that thrives in both hot climates or cool coastal areas
  • Striking, hot pink blossoms cover bush in spring

Sunshine Blue

  • Southern highbush
  • Low chill requirement of 150 hours, while being cold hardy
  • Early - Midseason
  • Has good landscape characteristics with its profusion of hot pink buds and blossoms, bushy compact to floppy growth habit, and attractive dark green leaves
  • Features a highly branched growth habit to 3 feet
  • Easily overbears and should be heavily pruned and thinned or fruit will be very small
  • Good in a 5-gallon container
  • Fruit is small with a good tangy flavor producing over an extended period
  • Tolerates higher pH better than many other blueberry varieties

Top Hat

  • Interspecific cross between Vaccinium augustifolium X V. corymbosum
  • Midseason
  • White flowers lasting several weeks completely cover plant
  • Fruit is medium-small size, mild flavor
  • Deciduous with foliage turning a blazing crimson color in the fall
  • Dwarf type cultivar good in a defined border or growing in a container as small as 2 1/2 gallons
  • Highly branched, ultra-compact, dwarf plant that would be excellent for bonsai
  • Variable in size and compactness

The other varieties we trialed, Darrow, Sierra, Toro, Sharpblue, died before they could be fully evaluated due to extreme alkaline soil and water conditions.

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